Palmer Luckey, Oculus founder, said to be planning a new border security start-up

Palmer Luckey, shown in 2015, is reported to be working on a new start-up focused on surveillance technology that can be used on the border or on military bases.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
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Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey faced backlash for contributing thousands of dollars to an organization that hoped to elect then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

For his next act, Luckey is working on technology that could serve one of Trump’s signature issues: border walls.

Luckey, who earlier this year left the Facebook-owned Oculus, is now working on a new start-up focused on surveillance technology that could be used along national borders, the New York Times reported Sunday.


The company, which is based in Southern California, reportedly plans to use a combination of infrared sensors, cameras and lidar technology — a key element in autonomous vehicle development — to monitor borders for illegal crossings.

In a statement emailed to the New York Times, Luckey confirmed that he was working on a defense-related start-up, saying, “We need a new kind of defense company, one that will save taxpayer dollars while creating superior technology to keep our troops and citizens safer.”

Luckey did not respond to a request for comment from the Los Angeles Times.

Luckey founded Oculus VR in 2012, which helped kickstart the consumer virtual reality market. The start-up was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion just two years later, as the social media giant predicted virtual reality would be the next tech frontier.

In March, Luckey left Facebook. Although Facebook declined to disclose the reason for his departure, the announcement came months after his efforts to fund political activism led to blowback for Oculus.

In September, Luckey apologized on Facebook for donating $10,000 to Nimble America, an organization that sought to elect Trump and discredit his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

In his Facebook post, Luckey said he was a libertarian and planned to vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, but thought Nimble America had “fresh ideas” on how to engage with young voters.


To read the article in Spanish, click here

Times staff writer Paresh Dave contributed to this report.

Twitter: @smasunaga